Topic: Groundwater

Overview

Groundwater

Unlike California’s majestic rivers and massive dams and conveyance systems, groundwater is out of sight and underground, though no less plentiful. The state’s enormous cache of underground water is a great natural resource and has contributed to the state becoming the nation’s top agricultural producer and leader in high-tech industries.

Groundwater is also increasingly relied upon by growing cities and thirsty farms, and it plays an important role in the future sustainability of California’s overall water supply. In an average year, roughly 40 percent of California’s water supply comes from groundwater.

A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits, including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

Two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability agency show the potential implications for agriculture and other businesses with historic, overlying water rights….”It’s one of the first groundwater sustainability plans we’re seeing that could wholly restrict agriculture in a water-poor area, while ignoring overlying rights and preferring other, non-agricultural users in the basin,” [the California Farm Bureau Federation's Chris] Scheuring said.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

In the world of groundwater recharge, not all dirt is created equal. Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: An artist and educator captures deeply personal stories of life without clean water

Run Dry is a story of small, rural California communities and their struggle to remain connected to the most precious resource—water. This digital media project combines short documentary films, personal stories, photographs, and data visualizations about water scarcity and contamination in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation in Ukiah Valley is imminent. Here’s what you need to know

Right now, the Mendocino County Sustainable Groundwater Agency is writing up a groundwater sustainability plan for the basin. The plan will regulate groundwater in the Ukiah Valley basin for the first time ever, and will define how water is managed in and near Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Ukiah for perpetuity.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Developing groundwater allocations: Findings and recommendations

At the 3rd annual Western Groundwater Congress in September, Dr. William Blomquist, professor of political science and more at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, gave a presentation of ongoing research with Dr. Christina Babbitt, California Groundwater Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund looking at how other groundwater basins have developed groundwater allocations.

Aquafornia news KVOA TV

University of Arizona researcher leading project to model the nation’s groundwater

A University of Arizona researcher is leading a National Science Foundation project that is integrating artificial intelligence to simulate the nation’s groundwater supply for the purpose of forecasting droughts and floods. [One aim, the researcher said, is to] “come up with better forecasts for floods and droughts in the upper Colorado River Basin…”

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California water probe finds PFAS in majority of tested wells

Sixty percent of California’s public water supply wells that were tested for so-called forever chemicals contain those compounds, according to research that the State Water Resources Control Board released Wednesday. The findings … shed new light on the presence of PFAS contamination and areas that could be vulnerable based on proximity to known sources like airports and landfills.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Green Car Congress

Report says lithium from California’s Salton Sea can anchor US battery supply chain

Developing lithium from the Salton Sea in California can help anchor a multi-billion dollar domestic electric vehicle battery supply chain and inject thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into California’s economically disadvantaged Imperial Valley, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District breaks ground on east valley water connection

The Coachella Valley Water District broke ground Tuesday on a project that will connect the Westside Elementary School in Thermal to the water system that services much of the valley. Westside is the only school in its district relying solely on a well and has a history of water contamination….construction is advancing with money from the state water board’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. [It is the state's first recipient under the program.]

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Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Supervisors discuss Corning area groundwater levels

Tehama County Board of Supervisors received an update Tuesday … on groundwater levels and well depths following reports of south county wells going dry. … The majority of the calls come from areas west of Interstate-5 as far as Rancho Tehama, where at least two people have reported wells going dry. A few others have reported declining groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water accounting platform is working well in Kern County

A relatively new water budgeting platform appears to be working well for producers in Kern County. The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District has worked with multiple stakeholder partners to develop the Water Accounting Platform to help growers more accurately track water use.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: From source to tap: Assessing water quality in California

Water providers in California face myriad challenges in sustainably providing high quality drinking water to their customers while protecting the natural environment. In this blog post, I explore the stresses that surface and groundwater quality challenges pose for California’s retail water agencies. 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tess Dunham: California’s three-legged stool for improving groundwater quality

Every year, the Groundwater Resources Association of California selects two speakers for the David Keith Todd Lectureship… One of the speakers for the 2020 lecture series was Theresa “Tess” Dunham, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway LLP, who spoke about groundwater quality and how the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the state’s recycled water policy can work together.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news Soquel Creek Water District

News release: Soquel Creek Water District receives $88.9 million low-interest loan from US EPA for Pure Water Soquel construction

The Soquel Creek Water District is pleased to announce that its low-interest loan from the US Environmental Protection Agency has been approved, to be used toward construction of the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project. The loan, up to a maximum of $88.9 million at an interest rate of 1.34%, is part of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act funding program.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation comes to Ukiah; local Groundwater Sustainability Agency introduced plan last week

Landowners with access to underground water have been able to pull as much water, at any rate, any time, and for any reason without worrying about protocols or following government rules. That is about to change. Last Tuesday, local officials and environmental engineers introduced an outline for how to sustainably manage and regulate groundwater in the region.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Southern California residents blast NASA plan to clean up rocket lab site

NASA announced plans Friday to clean up a Cold War-era rocket fuel testing site in Southern California — plans that have upset residents who say the space agency and the Trump administration have punted any responsibility for a full cleanup and will leave most of the area contaminated.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Mojave Pistachios, Searles Valley Minerals file lawsuits vs. Indian Wells groundwater agency

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority faces two lawsuits, from a major local farm operation and Searles Valley Minerals, over water rights filed this week in the aftermath of the passing of a controversial groundwater replenishment fee and a fallowing program.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern Canal fix stalled again after Newsom vetoes bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom put the final nail in the bipartisan bill’s coffin on Wednesday when he vetoed the legislation, arguing that the bill was too focused on one canal project: The Friant-Kern.

Aquafornia news UC San Diego

News release: Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Clean, reliable water: How to get a seat at the table for groundwater planning

Healthy communities need clean, reliable water supplies. That is why your thoughts, and ideas need to be shared with local water agencies as they create plans that map out how groundwater will be managed for the next 50 years.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How groundwater managers can avoid the courts as they divvy up water

One of the biggest challenges to implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act hovers around this two-part question: Who gets to pump groundwater and how much do they get to pump? Or, put another way, who must cut their groundwater use and by how much? [Please note Oct. 20 webinar.]

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Farms over-pump Madera groundwater, private wells go dry

The land east of Madera has changed in the 25 years since Rochelle and Michael Noblett built their home… There are more houses, more irrigated agriculture and less grazing land. There’s also been a significant decline in water availability, as the level of groundwater drops below what some domestic wells can reach. That’s why the couple was shocked when the county allowed a new irrigation well and almond orchard … in the midst of the most recent drought, even as private wells were going dry…

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom vetoes Friant-Kern Canal fix bill

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have provided funding to fix the ever-sinking Friant-Kern Canal. SB 559 would have required the Department of Water Resources to report to the legislature by March 31, 2021, on federal funding for the Friant Water Authority or any other government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill would also have required DWR to include a proposal for the state to pay up to 35 percent of the cost of the project.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

“Madness and arrogance” forced lawsuit against desert groundwater agency

Two lawsuits accusing the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority of ramming through a plan that ignores water rights and, according to one plaintiff, is intended to “destroy agriculture” were filed this week. At issue is a controversial $2,000-per-acre-foot fee that would be charged to certain groundwater users over a five-year period. That money is intended to raise $50 million to buy Central Valley water and, somehow, bring it over the Sierra Nevada to replenish the overdrafted desert aquifer.

Aquafornia news The Rolla Daily News

Research links sinking land to regions of high groundwater demand

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology … are using a form of artificial intelligence known as machine learning to map the sinking – called land subsidence – to help water policy officials make informed decisions. … To carry out their research, Smith and his Ph.D. student, Sayantan Majumdar, compiled hydrologic and subsidence data from satellites and ground-based GPS stations across the western U.S., including California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Study: Small farmers shortchanged by SGMA

When governor Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in September 2014, he said that “groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally.” With the first round of plans made available for public comment this year, it appears that, while the state certainly ceded control to local management agencies, those same agencies have prioritized the interests of big agriculture and industry over small farmers and disadvantaged communities.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Water Board candidates differ on how to balance basin, protect ratepayers

Potentially the most important question popped up roughly halfway through the Indian Wells Valley Water District Board candidate forum Wednesday night. Hidden within a longer question was the key point: how do the candidates think the local water basin should be balanced and how do they plan to protect water district ratepayers while doing so?

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed to work with the state legislature to phase out new permits for hydraulic fracking by 2024, but left untouched a more widely used oil extraction technique in the state that has been linked to hundreds of oil spills.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: How SGMA and IRWM can utilize each other’s strengths

How does a region integrate Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a program mandated by state legislation, with Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), a voluntary collaborative effort, to implement regional water management solutions? … This article discusses how IRWM and SGMA share a similar approach…

Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Tule agency to charge farmers for pumping water

Farmers whose only access to water is pumping from their own well will get their first glimpse at what the state’s new groundwater management law will cost them next month. On Oct. 1, the East Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency will hold a public hearing to discuss a groundwater extraction fee…

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Deep Creek Cemetery searches for water

The last few years have been dry for one of the oldest cemeteries in Tulare County. The well at the Deep Creek Cemetery has been parched since 2014 and now they are in talks with the Farmersville City Council to potentially connect to the city’s water system.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bilingual SGMA video series to foster better understanding

State and local agencies are continuing to work to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. With SGMA’s far-reaching implications, Ph.D. candidate at UC Merced, Vicky Espinoza has created a bilingual video series to help provide a better understanding of the impact of SGMA and generate more engagement.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

University of Arizona researchers unveil new model for desert farming in warming world

A team of scientists, led by the University of Arizona, has developed a new blueprint for arid-land agriculture using wild, native crops and modern growing techniques. The 14 researchers from the Southwest and Mexico believe their model can produce a sustainable, local source of food that will improve the health and well-being of consumers and farmworkers alike.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Where groundwater gives way to warm springs, a fight continues over building a new desert town outside Las Vegas

The housing developer and the powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight, playing out in hydrologic reports and hearing rooms, over what might seem a simple question: How much water is there? That answer is complicated by how much is at stake — a Colorado River tributary, the survival of an endangered Nevada fish and the future of development in a sweeping area outside Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

In a dry state, farmers use oil wastewater to irrigate their fields, but is it safe?

For decades, farmers in California’s Kern County have turned to wastewater from oil production to help irrigate their crops during extended dry spells. … But the use of the recycled water, a byproduct of oil and natural gas extraction that is mixed with surface water for irrigation, has stirred controversy.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Citizens group begins deep dive in Napa Valley groundwater issues

The Napa County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee — 25 people appointed by the Board of Supervisors representing such interests as farming, wineries and the environment — was in action last Thursday with a Zoom meeting.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Tri-Valley water districts tackle toxic chemicals in drinking water wells

Surrounded by lush green fields, Pleasanton often makes the top ten list of desirable places to live. But a new list just out is nothing to boast about. “I was just floored,” said Pleasanton resident Jill Buck when she found out her town made the top ten for dangerous drinking water.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Pursuing independent water sources, San Diego ignores one beneath its feet

San Diego is not well endowed with many freshwater sources to support its growing population, so some water experts are perplexed the city’s ignoring a self-replenishing local groundwater source that, though small in size, is safe from the threat of natural disasters and reliably recharged by the San Diego River.

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

Once a week, Florencia Ramos makes a special trip to the R–N Market in Lindsay, California. “If you don’t have clean water, you have to go get some,” says Ramos, a farmworker and mother of four who lives in the neighboring Central Valley town of El Rancho. She has been purchasing jugs of water at the small store for more than a decade now.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton council mulls options to treat PFAS water contaminants

The Pleasanton City Council made headway on plans to repair a contaminated groundwater well and meet — if not exceed – future water quality standards earlier this month. In a unanimous vote Sept. 1, the council approved a $437,374 contract with Walnut Creek-based Carollo Engineers to prepare a basis of design report for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment and rehabilitating the city’s groundwater wells…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Oasis Mobile Home Park once again found to have arsenic in its water

The beleaguered Oasis Mobile Home Park near Thermal, home to about 1,900 largely Spanish-speaking residents living in poor conditions, has once again found dangerously high levels of arsenic in its drinking water. On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency served park management with an emergency order compelling them to provide residents an alternative source of water.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Opinion: Impact of new Indian Wells Valley Water District groundwater fees on customers

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority has taken actions recently with regards to fees that will affect customers of the Indian Wells Valley Water District. … It is my intent to provide context for how these fees will translate to your bill from the district.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Pleasanton City Council addresses water well issue

The Pleasanton City Council … unanimously approved a contract with Carollo Engineers in the amount of $437,374 to prepare a basis of design report for Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) treatment and the rehabilitation of city-owned and -operated wells 5, 6 and 8.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

A basic primer on water quality regulation

In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA), requiring local agencies to be formed and groundwater sustainability plans to be written for all groundwater basins subject to SGMA. Those plans must avoid six undesirable results, one of which is “significant and unreasonable” impacts to groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: California Supreme Court holds public agencies may not categorically classify groundwater well permit approvals as ministerial

In Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus, the Court held that the County may not categorically classify all groundwater well permit issuances as ministerial decisions. Such a classification exempts well permit issuances from environmental review.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun environmental review for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head. … TCP (trichloropropane) is a carcinogenic leftover from a nematode pesticide made by Shell Oil and Dow Chemical that was liberally applied to Central Valley farmland from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

‘Until the Last Drop’ documentary explains California water wars

The water wars are far from over, a point made clear in a just-released feature-length documentary, “Until the Last Drop.” If you can block from your mind the old Folgers “good to the last drop” commercials, the film title will evoke a combination of dripping water with a fight to the last drop of blood.

Aquafornia news The Packer

Opinion: Growers must solve California’s water challenges

I visited in late August with Matt Angell about California San Joaquin Valley water issues. Angell is a chairman of San Joaquin Resource Conservation District 9, is a managing partner at Pacific Farming Co., and also is managing director of Madera Pumps. The conversation included discussion of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what that will require of growers in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desal plant on Monterey Peninsula is not the best option

Expansion of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project is the best option for the Monterey region to meet its future water supply needs. Unfortunately, California American Water Co., a private water supplier, is discrediting the project in hopes of getting approval for their much more costly, oversized and environmentally harmful groundwater desalination project…

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA sued over decision not to regulate chemical linked to fetal brain damage

The Natural Resources Defense Council on Thursday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to regulate a chemical linked to fetal and infant brain damage. The agency announced in June it would not regulate perchlorate even though it estimated up to 620,000 people could be drinking water with a concerning amount of the chemical. 

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Wheeler, Calif. Gov. Newsom clash over coal plant rule change

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and California Gov. Gavin Newsom clashed Thursday over the Trump administration easing restrictions on wastewater discharges from coal-fired power plants.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Foster Farms accused of wasting water to kill chickens in drought-prone California

According to the 21-page complaint, Foster Farms’ Livingston, California, plant uses 3-4 million gallons of drinkable water daily, more than all the other water users in the rural city of 14,000 combined. The main reason, the Animal Legal Defense Fund argues, is Foster Farms’ water-intensive slaughter system.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California Supreme Court throws the barn doors open, finding that groundwater well permits aren’t necessarily ministerial

While the Court’s Opinion does not state that all well permits must undergo CEQA review, it narrows the grounds on which the ministerial exemption may apply. And since county well ordinances across the State comprise similar provisions, this ruling upsets the common practice of treating such permits as ministerial, not subject to CEQA.

Aquafornia news American Chemical Society

News release: Regional variations in freshwater overconsumption

With an ever-increasing human population, water shortages already occurring in many areas are only expected to get worse. Now, researchers reporting in Environmental Science & Technology have estimated the freshwater supply and demand of about 11,000 water basins across the globe, determining that one-fourth of freshwater consumption exceeds regional capacities.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC sues to protect kids from perchlorate in tap water

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, seeks to overturn the Trump EPA’s decision to allow unlimited amounts of toxic perchlorate in our tap water. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler reached this decision even though his agency admits that toxic perchlorate is found in millions of Americans’ tap water…

Aquafornia news University of Colorado Boulder

Blog: New grant supports interdisciplinary research on ‘the critical zone’ and the future of Western water

CU Boulder will collaborate with five other universities and two federal partners to better understand how water, trees, soils and rocks interact and change each other in the fire- and drought-prone landscapes of the American West. The team has chosen five locations in Colorado and California to test a variety of hypotheses about water in the critical zone. And not only from a physical perspective, but also from ecological and chemical perspectives.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Regional Change

Report: Sustainable for whom? The impact of groundwater sustainability plans on domestic wells

Studies estimate that 1.5 – 2.5 million Californians rely on domestic wells to meet their household water needs. But because domestic wells are often shallow, they are also often sensitive to changes in groundwater levels. As such, sustainable groundwater management has an important role to play in safeguarding the health and safety of residents and the achievement of California’s recognized Human Right to Water.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Environmentalists pledge to fight first local auction of federal oil leases since 2012

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity last week said it’s targeting a federal plan to auction in December seven parcels totaling about 4,330 acres in or near existing oilfields in the county. The CBD called the auction plan a “breathtakingly vicious” move by the Trump administration to expand drilling and fracking at a time of wildfires driven by climate change in an area with some of the country’s worst air quality.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Coyote Springs developer sues state of Nevada for ‘unconstitutional taking’ of water rights

A developer is suing Nevada’s Division of Water Resources after the state again denied plans to construct new homes at Coyote Springs, the latest setback in a decades-long effort to build a sprawling master-planned community about 50 miles north of Las Vegas. Coyote Springs Investment alleges state officials made a series of decisions that amount to an “unconstitutional taking” of the water rights it owns and planned to use.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Orange County groundwater basin added to Superfund sites for future cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a Superfund site project to clean up groundwater in part of a basin in Fullerton, Anaheim, and Placentia… According to the Orange County Water District, groundwater was contaminated with industrial degreasing chemicals in the early 1960s through the mid-1980s. The long-lasting effects contaminated an area about five miles long and two miles wide…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tainted valley groundwater could stymie banking deals

The big kahuna of California water — Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — has stopped taking supplies from one Kern County groundwater bank because the water is heavily tainted with a cancer-causing agent that is pervasive in Central Valley’s aquifers. While only one banking program has been affected so far, the emergence of this issue could have huge implications for water storage and movement in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Rebalancing agricultural and natural land

Over the next 20 years, San Joaquin Valley farmers may need to temporarily fallow or permanently retire over half a million acres of cropland as California pushes towards sustainable groundwater use. … Below, the paper’s lead authors, Benjamin Bryant and Rodd Kelsey, discuss their research examining how conservation planning can guide the land use change being driven by SGMA to achieve multiple benefits…

Aquafornia news The Hill

Proposal fast tracks oil development in national forests, green groups say

A Monday proposal from the U.S. Forest Service would severely limit the agency’s ability to call off any oil drilling slated for its lands by the Bureau of Land Management, which tees up leasing in federal forests. … The proposed rule removes specific references within Forest Service policy to review environmental consequences of drilling and also eliminates the requirement to provide public notice before new oil activity takes place.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater authority approves transient pool, fallowing program

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority last week voted unanimously to adopt a transient pool and fallowing program and also approve findings that the programs are exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review — meaning the programs are not considered to have a significant impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news Montgomery & Associates

Blog: Keep calm & SGMA on!

It hasn’t always been easy, and there have been plenty of bumps along the way, but we’ve learned a lot in those five years, and we are happy to share some of what we learned. We are pleased to present our top 10 SGMA lessons learned:

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

EPA refuses to regulate perchlorate, after years of effort by Pasadena to eradicate the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer from two drinking water wells

While the world was coping with the deadly COVID-19 crisis … the Trump administration was quietly diluting environmental laws regulating the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer perchlorate, utilized extensively by scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) beginning in the 1950s and since then polluting Pasadena and Altadena drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news E&E News

BLM plans first California auction in 7 years

The Bureau of Land Management will revive its oil and gas leasing program in California later this year, following a seven-year moratorium sparked by a fracking fight.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Despite COVID-19, natural resources should remain important to Legislature

As if a global pandemic was not enough, the tumultuous legislative session comes to a close as much of the state is on fire. Understandably, lawmakers had already significantly pared down their legislative packages to focus on a response to COVID-19. And, then last week many important bills on environmental justice and natural resources stalled.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Replenishment fee passed. Now what?

The estimated fee would be $24 a month for the average residential user presuming a five-year repayment period, according to Gleason. The fee would reportedly collect some $50 million which would be used to purchase water rights for imported water, presuming the same users continue using the water at roughly the same rate.

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

We can solve water scarcity in the U.S., new study says

The study … says that some of the most water-stressed areas in the West and Southwest have the greatest potential for water savings. The paper attributes nearly half the potential to simply improving how water is used in agriculture, specifically in growing the commodity crops, corn, cotton and alfalfa.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Saltwater intrusion at North Marin wells reaches historic high

North Marin Water District has struggled for decades with periodic and seasonal salinity intrusion resulting from the wells’ proximity to Tomales Bay, but the problem is especially dire this summer as freshwater becomes scarce.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Why conserving water today means more groundwater for tomorrow

Groundwater is California’s water savings bank account that can be tapped during dry years when water in lakes and rivers are low. Conserving water helps preserve groundwater, which is important for plants, animals and people.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Water agency approves 7,000-percent cost increase

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority voted 4-1 to pass the replenishment fee despite significant public opposition. … Although residential users will see an estimated $24 per month increase, Searles Valley Minerals will see a 7,000-percent increase in water costs.

Related article:

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Summit reviews water needs of San Joaquin Valley

One expert at a virtual summit meeting on California’s water infrastructure said 1 in 5 acres will come out of agricultural production in the San Joaquin Valley by 2040.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Water Blueprint proposes a valley-wide sales tax to fund its irrigation water plan. Is it feasible?

Earlier this month, CSU-Fresno hosted the event “Funding Water Infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.” The majority of the event was focused on the so-called “Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley,” a high profile new investment plan for irrigation water. At the event, the Blueprint rolled out a proposed funding plan – the centerpiece of which is a proposed 0.5% special sales tax in the 8 counties of the San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Dry wells, angry neighbors: Big Springs residents protest water trucking for illegal marijuana grows

More than 100 people gathered in front of the Mayten Fire Department in Montague Saturday morning to protest the trucking of water from local wells, most likely to irrigate illegal cannabis grows in the Big Springs and Mt. Shasta Vista areas.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Faster track for ecosystem restoration

California’s rivers and aquatic species are in trouble, but restoration projects often get bogged down by lengthy permitting processes. Sustainable Conservation has been at the forefront of finding ways to speed up badly needed restoration projects with improved permitting. We talked to Erika Lovejoy—director of Sustainable Conservation’s Accelerating Restoration program…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Basin replenishment fee passed

The basin replenishment fee was passed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority with a vote of four to one Friday afternoon. IWV Water District Director Ron Kicinski was the sole no vote. The IWVGA voted after the basin replenishment fee protest hearing Friday failed. The IWVGA did not announce the number of protest votes received…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

California to Friant-Kern Canal: “No $ for you!”

Any hope that California might kick in money to fix the sagging Friant-Kern Canal was killed Thursday when a bill that would have provided $400 million toward the effort was stripped of all funding.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

‘Save Searles’ aims to save mineral plant from 7000 percent water fee hike

’The “Save Searles” campaign was launched Tuesday, three days before the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority public hearing on a controversial replenishment fee. The fee would increase water costs for Searles Valley Minerals by nearly $6 million a year, “pushing the company and the local community towards extinction,” according to the campaign…

Aquafornia news National Ground Water Association

News release: National Ground Water Association offers new PFAS educational resources for private well owners

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has released two new educational resources for private well owners concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). … Both resources are available for a free download at NGWA.org/PFAS and WellOwner.org.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Coliform bacteria shuts down water in Tulare County courthouse, jail

The Tulare County Civic Center is on a boil-water notice after a bacteria that commonly lives in human feces was discovered in the county’s wells.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

SLO County and USGS ask landowners for help to study Adelaida groundwater

The two agencies inked a partnership last year to undergo the study, which will collect and analyze data on the water supply, land uses, and groundwater flow over the mostly rural region west of Highway 101—north to Lake Nacimiento and south to Atascadero.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Opinion: Water district seeks drought proof supply

The development of a groundwater sustainability plan has begun and will help ensure we can manage the Carpinteria Groundwater Basin sustainably, which is an important shared resource for the Carpinteria Valley. In addition, the Carpinteria Advanced Purification Project, now under development, will allow us to diversify our water portfolio so that we can be resilient in future periods of drought.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Eastern Tule Groundwater Agency proposes groundwater extraction fee

The proposed fee to be charged is $4.92 per acre foot of which $1.61 would go to administration/overhead, $1.78 would go to professional services, 65 cents would go to water accounting and 88 cents would go to technical monitoring. The agency’s budget for 2020-2021 is $1,519,210. The fee would fund $759,605 of the budget.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Replenishment fee, ag buyouts on the agenda for Indian Wells Groundwater Authority

The proposed replenishment fee is $2,130 per acre-foot of extracted water. This represents a composite fee which covers the estimated imported water purchase cost of $2,112 per acre-foot extracted and $17.50 per acre-foot extracted for estimated costs to mitigate shallow wells from overdraft damage… This would work out to an estimated fee of $24 per month for the average residential user…

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Blog: California’s cap-and-trade program pays for clean water fund

Last year, California passed a law establishing a fund for safe and affordable drinking water. Using money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, it allocates up to $130 million to solutions each year for a decade.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater Sustainability Summit: Addressing environment, disadvantaged communities, and domestic wells

The groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources in January of 2020 were the first of the groundwater sustainability plans to be completed. Public review of these plans has revealed some important lessons to be learned to be considered for those preparing the plans that will be due in January of 2022.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

This Madera County community is running out of water — and the only well might fail

Residents of Fairmead, California worry they are on the brink of losing water service, as the town’s only community well shows signs it may fail before a new one can be built.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

EPA reaches $56.6M settlement for groundwater cleanup throughout LA County

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have reached a $56.6 million settlement to assist in cleanup at the Dual Site Groundwater Operable Unit of the Montrose Chemical Corp. and Del Amo superfund sites.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

The short answer is, the replenishment fee is a per-acre-foot extraction fee proposed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to pay for mitigation of registered shallow wells damaged by continuing overdraft, as well as to begin importing water necessary to balance the groundwater basin. A public hearing regarding the fee is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at city hall.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag

A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring profitability.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

NASA wants to make contaminated Santa Susana site a landmark

In what some have described as a cynical attempt by a U.S. government agency to avoid a long-promised cleanup of toxic and radioactive contaminants, NASA has nominated the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for official listing as a traditional cultural property.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘This land is all we have left’: Tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon

If built, it would … pump groundwater into four new reservoirs … Tribal members and environmentalists say the project would flood several miles of canyons sacred to the Navajo; risk damaging cultural sites for several tribes; draw vast amounts of critical groundwater; potentially harm habitats for plants and animals, including some endangered species; and risk adverse effects for waterways leading into the Grand Canyon.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers propose climate-smart desert food production model for land and human health

Water-efficient succulents and nitrogen-fixing tree legumes may take five to 12 years to produce their first nutritional harvests. Nevertheless, they can produce more edible biomass over a decade with far less water than that used by conventional annual crops, while sequestering carbon into the soil to mitigate climate change…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Groundwater sustainability moves from planning to implementation

Completion of groundwater sustainability plans for California’s most over-pumped basins was a major step toward bringing basins into long-term balance, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Trevor Joseph—the first SGMA employee at the Department of Water Resources, and now a member of a groundwater sustainability agency in the Sacramento Valley—about next steps and possible pitfalls.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

A Lompoc religious nonprofit is accusing a Wyoming-based organic farm and cannabis company of stealing water it uses to grow food and blocking access to a well on a neighboring parcel, despite a decades-old legal agreement allowing them to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: SGMA and the human right to water: How do submitted groundwater sustainability plans address drinking water?

Although only five of 41 groundwater sustainability plans submitted to the Department of Water Resources for review in January mention the human right to water, and only one of those affirmed it as a consideration in their plan, these two policies are closely related.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Are you on a private well? We’re investigating risks to drinking water and need your help

Thousands of families who rent or own homes with private wells are at risk of losing their drinking water in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties — and some already have. The Fresno Bee is investigating the risks to private wells and proposed solutions, and we need to hear your stories and your questions to guide our reporting.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

One step closer for $71 million for Friant-Kern Canal

Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming reality. The House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 7617… Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Lab

News release: Geothermal brines could propel California’s green economy

Deep beneath the surface of the Salton Sea, a shallow lake in California’s Imperial County, sits an immense reserve of critical metals that, if unlocked, could power the state’s green economy for years to come. These naturally occurring metals are dissolved in geothermal brine, a byproduct of geothermal energy production.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Tired of wells that threaten residents’ health, small California town takes on the oil industry

In September 2018, Estela Escoto sat down with a team of lawyers and community organizers and weighed her options. Escoto’s town—Arvin, California—had just granted an oil drilling and well-servicing company, Petro-Lud, a permit to drill four new wells near a neighborhood densely packed with young families and a park where children played soccer.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102

John Leroy Woolf Jr., a pioneering farmer who helped re-imagine the dry and dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural oasis, died Tuesday. He was 102.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito groundwater basin levels still recovering from California drought

The district’s spring groundwater monitoring program, using 55 public and private wells, found that the levels rose 3-to-18 feet in each storage area of the basin since last year. That’s progress, but still far below historic wet weather levels, groundwater specialist Nick Kunstek said.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Audio: Planet Money: Scarce resources, drought and the tragedy of the commons in California

We travel to Porterville, California, where a drought has dried up residents’ wells. There’s water under their homes; they just can’t get to it.

Aquafornia news InterestingEngineering.com

How over-pumping of underground aquifers can cause land to sink

All the static and dynamic forces from the land and rock above start adding up and eventually that now-dry soil starts compacting down and down. While this may not seem like a big deal on a small scale, what we’ve seen in California (and other parts of the world too) is the dropping of the surface elevation over a period of years, often by hundreds of feet or meters.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

News release: Bishop Paiute Tribe pumping water at reduced capacity; pump failure & high-demand

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is experiencing low water pressure reservation wide due to high water usage and minimal storage and pumping capacity. … With temperatures rising, and more community members staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, water usage has gone up significantly.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

What is Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face a range of hurdles.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom lays out big dreams for California’s water future

Gov. Gavin Newsom released strategies Tuesday to improve drinking water quality, revive a stalled multibillion-dollar tunnel and build new dams. Newsom says the sweeping water portfolio will help the Golden State prepare for global warming by reinforcing outdated water infrastructure and reducing the state’s reliance on groundwater during future droughts.

Aquafornia news Gov. Newsom's Office

BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Newsom Releases Final Water Resilience Portfolio

NEWS RELEASE: Governor Gavin Newsom today released a final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, the Administration’s blueprint for equipping California to cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater and other challenges.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Forging connections to provide safe drinking water

Providing a reliable source of drinking water is a challenge for many small water systems in the San Joaquin Valley, where dropping groundwater levels, aging systems, and water quality problems are acute. … We talked to Laura Ramos and Sarge Green of Fresno State’s California Water Institute about this effort.

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Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Can a new plan for the wash that runs between Redlands and Highland protect flowers, animals and mining?

On July 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District a 30-year permit to manage plans for the Upper Santa Ana River Wash, the final step in the process. The plans cover an area of Redlands and Highland generally west and south of Greenspot Road, east of Alabama Street and north of the waterway’s bluffs.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Feinstein bill would fix SJ Valley canals

Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Setting sustainable groundwater management criteria: It’s easy, isn’t it?

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s 3rd annual GSA Summit, a panel reviewed how the process went for the groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources earlier this year, focusing on four of the six sustainable management criteria: water levels, water quality, land subsidence, and interconnected surface waters.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Report says California groundwater sustainability plans are inadequate

The grim report by the Water Foundation, a charitable organization based in California that is focused on clean, reliable water for people and nature, predicts the groundwater sustainability plans written by the various districts in the San Joaquin Valley will not achieve what SGMA purports to do – that is, sustainably manage groundwater resources.

Editors Note: The Water Foundation is not affiliated with the Water Education Foundation.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Colusa County landowners sought for groundwater recharge program

According to a release issued by the Nature Conservancy, the program provides an opportunity for growers to receive financial compensation for recharging groundwater during the course of normal farming operations on a variety of crops while also providing critical wetland habitat for waterbirds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmers doing more with less need help from above

Ceres Imaging, an Oakland-based startup company, is one of several high-tech aerial monitoring companies helping California farmers, including those in Kern County, increase their production, while decreasing their demand for water. It is a logical marriage between agriculture and innovators in California’s Silicon Valley.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves groundwater extraction fee hike

Local water users will pay higher groundwater extraction fees to close the gap between estimated and actual costs associated with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The fee increase was approved on Thursday by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Environmentalists fear oil company bankruptcy could strand SoCal’s idle wells

The owner of more than 2,000 idle oil wells in Southern California declared bankruptcy this week, raising fears among environmentalists that those wells might never be properly sealed. … As those old wells sit idle and unsealed, they present a potential pollution hazard to drinking water underground and people living nearby.

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Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use

Media coverage portrayed stakeholders as limited to major economic interests, such as agriculture, the study found. And while SGMA legislation requires disadvantaged communities to be a stakeholder in all planning documents, such communities were largely absent from newspaper reports.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Are there plans to fill more of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County this summer?

As more people enjoy local trails this summer, they may notice many of Valley Water’s percolation ponds in Santa Clara County are empty and dry. There’s no reason to be alarmed. In fact, the absence of water in many of the 100 percolation ponds owned by Valley Water is a sign that our underground water basins are mostly full and healthy.

Aquafornia news 5280.com

How did Colorado’s drought get so bad so quick?

To live in Colorado is to know drought. Since 2000, there has been only one month-plus-long period (from late May to mid July of 2019) when no drought has been desiccating the earth here. Other than that, at least one part of the state has been in a perpetual state of crisp.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The water is contaminated. But California bottled water program isn’t helping Earlimart

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May. The State Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: When the ground sinks, arsenic levels in drinking water may rise

To begin, what is arsenic? It is one of the basic chemical elements found in the periodic table that shows its relationship to other elements. Arsenic is dissolved from rocks by water in areas that have groundwater pools. If you have significant levels of arsenic in your water, it can cause cancer, heart disease, diarrhea and affect your skin.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Location, location, location: New tool shows where groundwater recharge will maximize benefits

With support from EDF, four UC Santa Barbara graduate students have developed a new mapping tool for California’s Central Valley to identify the best locations for groundwater recharge to secure these bonus benefits. The tool, called Recharge for Resilience, is available online and also can be downloaded by users with more technical expertise.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s pollution regulators go toe-to-toe with Trump. Watchdog says they come up short

A California environmental advocacy group urged the state’s air pollution regulator and agriculture department to do more for minority communities in an annual report card it published last week. That report card, compiled by the California Environmental Justice Alliance, issued environmental justice grades to eight agencies, with a statewide C average.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water resilience projects receive nearly $84 million from DWR

A total of $83.9 million grant funding has been issued to communities in San Diego, San Joaquin, Sacramento, Sierra and Central Coast regions. The funding is aimed at supporting projects to address infrastructure needs, depleted groundwater levels, flood control issues, and other water issues of critical importance.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

US children who drink water from private wells at higher risk of lead exposure

American children whose homes rely on private wells for drinking water are 25% more likely to have high lead levels in their blood than those with access to regulated community water services, according to new research.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

What happens when a drinking water system fails? Ask Earlimart

Residents in Earlimart, California, lost water service when a 50-year-old well on Mary Ann Avenue failed in late May. When it came back on, the main source of drinking water for more than 8,000 residents became a well contaminated with a chemical from banned pesticides. And most residents didn’t know. The Tulare County town’s water system is failing, in a lot of ways.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

GSA Summit: Lessons learned from the 2020 Groundwater Sustainability Plans: Perspectives from critically overdrafted basins

At the Groundwater Resources Association Third Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency Summit held online in June, a panel of managers from four of the critically overdrafted basins reflected on the hard work of developing and adopting a groundwater sustainability plan.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Proposed changes to Paso Robles Groundwater Basin boundaries draw anger and skepticism from landowners

After seven years of water restrictions over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin, San Luis Obispo County is redrawing the basin’s boundaries, which will subject hundreds of new property owners to a moratorium on irrigating and other rules.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmland values hinge on future water availability

Availability of water and the impact of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act continue to be a main focus when California agricultural appraisers determine land values, particularly in water-short regions.

Aquafornia news CapRadio

Sacramento region plans to store water underground as a climate change adaptation strategy

The Sacramento region is preparing for the long term impacts of the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three times the space of Folsom Lake. 

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News Release: Kiewit-Stantec design-build team moving forward on critical LADWP groundwater projects

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is one step closer to remediating and restoring the beneficial use of the San Fernando Valley Groundwater Basin (SFB), providing a critical, local source of clean drinking water for the Los Angeles region. The Kiewit-Stantec design-build team recently completed its “basis of design report,” which outlines treatment technology that will be used to treat contaminated groundwater as well as provide the basis for the treatment facility layout at LADWP’s North Hollywood Central and Tujunga remediation sites.

Aquafornia news Kingman Daily Miner

Mohave County addresses dwindling water supply in Kingman

Kingman’s primary water supply could dry up in less than 100 years, and Mohave County officials are planning to work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to preserve it for as long as possible. Mohave County Development Services Director Timothy Walsh hopes to work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to install three recharge basins and associated facilities in the upper watershed of Rattlesnake Wash, in the Kingman area.

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Pandemic, water costs, consumer behavior lead to $2 billion in ag losses thus far

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on California agriculture was severe, unprecedented, and will continue to affect the industry in the coming months and years. That’s the sobering news from an economic study released last week by Davis-based ERA Economics. [The report also noted] Groundwater Sustainability Plan implementation started earlier this year for critically overdrafted groundwater sub-basins across the state and 2020 water supply deliveries for ag are reduced, resulting in higher water costs.

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Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Should farmers meter their wells now for SGMA?

With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act closing in on growers throughout California, there are many questions. One big one: should growers go ahead and put a meter on their pumps?

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River treatment plant for Turlock and Ceres gets final OK

A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres. The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost.

Aquafornia news Water Finance and Management

Orange County awarded grant to increase drinking water supply

The Orange County Water District has been awarded a $3.6 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) grant program for use toward the construction of its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Final Expansion project. Operational since 2008, the GWRS is undergoing its second and final expansion.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Water Replenishment District receives grant to prevent groundwater contamination

The Water Replenishment District has received a $844,240 grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board to remove inactive water wells from production. This grant was made possible by California’s Proposition 1 which authorized $7.545 billion in funds for water supply infrastructure projects and was approved by voters in 2014.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Ken Manning, architect of groundwater cleanup in San Gabriel Valley, Chino Basin, retires

Mostly, the people didn’t know their groundwater was polluted.. And they didn’t know the contaminated portions shut down by federal authorities in many instances were finally being restored. Kenneth “Ken” Manning, 69, a fixture in ground-water restoration in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, a pioneer in water recycling and a master at public-private partnerships, knew. And on June 30, Manning will retire from his most recent job, as executive director of the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lack of perchlorate standard paves way for Superfund slowdown

The EPA’s decision not to regulate perchlorate in drinking water will slow Superfund cleanups, especially in the majority of states that lack their own restrictions on the chemical, environmental attorneys said. The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced that it wouldn’t set an enforceable limit for perchlorate, a chemical commonly used in rocket fuel.

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Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Monte Vista Water District awarded $3.4 million grant

Monte Vista Water District was awarded a $3.4 million grant from the Department of Water Resources that will partially fund a treatment project necessary to meet stricter water quality regulations. The water district provides retail and wholesale water supply services to a population of about 140,000 in the communities of Montclair, Chino Hills and portions of Chino.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Eastern Municipal Water District approves San Jacinto Basin groundwater monitoring equipment

The June 17 meeting of the Eastern Municipal Water District included approving the purchase of groundwater monitoring equipment for the West San Jacinto Basin, approving a consultant contract for the final design of the Hemet Water Filtration Plant sodium hypochlorite tank replacement, and awarding Pacific Hydrotech Corporation a contract to replace the booster engines at the Pat Road facility.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada mulls EPA reversal of Obama era drinking water rules

The Trump administration has decided a chemical with a notorious legacy in Nevada will not be regulated in drinking water, but state officials say the reversal of the Obama-era policy shouldn’t result in any decline in drinking water standards across the state.

Aquafornia news Zocalo Public Square

Where Tulare Lake once was, a new telling of California’s history

All but one of these photographs of California by Jesse White come from California Exposures, a book that he and I, his father, did together. … They are part of a conversation, and they are as apt to ask questions as give answers. The photographs of California Exposures tell a history of California, but not in the conventional sense.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Losing Carrizo

Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater 101: The basics

Groundwater provides nearly 40% of the water used by California’s farms and cities, and significantly more in dry years. But what is groundwater? In this post based on the first segment of the UC Davis shortcourse on groundwater, Dr. Thomas Harter provides a basic understanding of groundwater – what it is, how much groundwater is out there, how fast groundwater moves, and where it comes from and where it goes.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

A new Water Foundation report asserts groundwater sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000 domestic wells over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Conservation

Blog: Balancing California’s water future

California’s groundwater – a critical resource in times of drought – is disappearing faster than we’re replenishing it. Our underground savings accounts are tapped, and we face a host of challenges like land subsidence, storage capacity loss and, most importantly, a dwindling water supply for California’s dry times.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: How Friant Water Authority recaptured its water destiny

The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced to authorize significant funding for the project.

Aquafornia news Water Well Journal

New USGS geonarrative pinpoints domestic well locations in US

A new U.S. Geological Survey geonarrative illustrates where domestic (private) water wells are located and how many people are using them, based on the results of a 2019 USGS study. Nearly 40 million people in the United States rely on a domestic well for their drinking-water supply.

Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Gavin Newsom hands out fracking permits to connected driller

On June 1, in the midst of the turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration quietly issued 12 fracking permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture owned by ExxonMobil and Shell. … The fracking permits are the latest example of California’s oil industry benefiting from regulatory or deregulatory action during the COVID-19 pandemic…

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Saving California’s crayfish

Living in cold streams fed by underground springs, the Shasta crayfish is California’s last native crayfish. Listed as endangered in 1988, the once prolific crayfish have declined over the past 20 years to the point where only about 500 individuals remain. But a project jointly developed by the Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences, and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company could change the fate of the crayfish.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: People, agriculture, and water in California

Agriculture is California’s predominant use of managed water. Agriculture and water together are a foundation for California’s rural economy. Although most agriculture is economically-motivated and commercially-organized, the sociology and anthropology of agriculture and agricultural labor are basic for the well-being of millions of people, and the success and failure of rural, agricultural, and water and environmental policies.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring to be protected in vault

After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of Water Resources has selected this project for the draft recommended funding list. The current wooden structure with corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Yettem-Seville tap into towns’ potential

Seville has clean water for the first time in five years and Yettem will be connected to joint system soon; county transfers governance to newly formed community services district

Aquafornia news Renewables Now

GreenFire Energy completes closed-loop geothermal energy pilot

GreenFire Energy Inc. on Wednesday said it has completed the world’s first field-scale demonstration of closed-loop geothermal energy generation in California. The pilot project utilised an inactive well at the Coso geothermal field in Coso, Inyo County. The GreenLoop technology showed promise for use in geothermal projects in hot, deep geothermal resources where conventional systems cannot be used.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds seek input on Friant-Kern Canal fixes

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern Canal, is seeking public input on plans to repair a 33-mile stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. This stretch of the canal has lost 60% of its original conveyance capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction – which was accelerated during California’s historic drought from 2012-2017.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA won’t regulate rocket fuel toxin

EPA will not set drinking water limits on perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient linked to fetal and developmental brain damage. The agency in a final action today said it determined perchlorate does not meet criteria for regulation as a drinking water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act…

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Nevada water order kills real estate project

Nevada restricted groundwater pumping Tuesday in an area north of Las Vegas, potentially killing a real estate project that threatens an endangered fish clinging to existence in a handful of spring-fed desert pools…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Virus-ravaged Navajo say coal mines sapped their drinking water

Lack of running water has long plagued the Navajo Nation. About a third of homes don’t have it; in some towns, it’s 90 percent. While several factors contribute to that, many tribal members say Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer, pulled so much water from the Navajo Aquifer before closing its last mining operation there last August that many wells and springs have run dry—at a time Covid-19 has hit the Nation harder than any state.

Announcement

Water Leaders Alumni: Stay In Touch With Each Other and The Foundation
Join LinkedIn alumni group for networking, program news and more!

Since 1997, more than 430 engineers, farmers, environmentalists, lawyers, and others have graduated from our William R. Gianelli Water Leaders program. We’ve developed a new alumni network webpage to help program participants connect and keep in touch.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater accountability sparks clash of Central Valley ag titans

Two giant Central Valley farming companies are slinging serious mud at one another over groundwater. And, in a rare break with tradition, they’re doing it in public. The fight has spilled out in public comments on the Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which covers most of Kings County.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County taps citizens for groundwater sustainability plan

Supervisors won’t be creating the plan on their own. The state requires them to consider various interests, such as well owners, public water systems, the environment and surface water users. Thirty-seven people applied for a 25-person groundwater advisory committee. That meant supervisors on Tuesday had to make choices.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Groundwater Management Act was groundbreaking, but it needs an update

Rural communities are grappling with the challenge other parts of Arizona faced in the past: the need to conserve groundwater for future generations.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion-PPIC: San Joaquin Valley’s big problem remains declining groundwater

In these extraordinary times, managing groundwater for long-term sustainability may not seem like a top priority. But in the San Joaquin Valley — where groundwater supplies have been declining for decades — excess pumping is a critical problem, with major implications for public health, jobs, the environment and local economies.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: The past, present and future of California’s groundwater

The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, granted the state official oversight authority of groundwater. … A new paper published in Society and Natural Resources, examines how the state’s ongoing involvement helped shape current policies by looking at the 120-year history of California’s role in groundwater management…

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Could the answer to groundwater resources come from high in the sky?

A new computational approach developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers a high-tech yet simple method to estimate available groundwater: It pairs high-resolution images derived by satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer volume change from observed ground deformation.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona housing growth tees up opportunity for water investors

Central Arizona has been booming — more people, more houses, more need for water. There’s also a long-term drought, and less water to buy from the Central Arizona Project canal system . It’s leading Phoenix exurbs to cast about, looking for new buckets. Other regions of the state say: don’t come here.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

State Water Board: Update on SGMA implementation

At the State Water Board’s meeting on June 2nd, Natalie Stork, unit chief for the Groundwater Management Program at the State Water Board, and Craig Altare, chief of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Review section at the Department of Water Resources, updated the board members on how implementation is going so far.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley water districts take aim at each other’s groundwater plans

There is no tougher playground than California’s water world. Just take a look at the zingers flying back and forth between water districts on one another’s groundwater sustainability plans posted on the Department of Water Resources’ website.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Something in the water: Pollutant may be more hazardous than previously thought

In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Irvine, report on the mechanism that perchlorate uses to impact and damage normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The findings, they say, suggest that an acceptable safe concentration of perchlorate in drinking water is 10 times less than previously thought.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Is this the end of a 30-year fight over a proposed water pipeline?

On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water grab.”  The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three decades of acrimonious battle with the Great Basin Water Network.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Small, Central Valley community finally gets clean water

For years — too many, residents say — Seville households teetered with unpredictable conditions. Using too much water in the day meant having none at night. One flush too many, and everyone relying on a single well in town was thrown into a dry spell. … The coming summer, however, promises to be a new one altogether for residents in Seville.

Aquafornia news Environmental Protection Online

Big corporations contribute to water shortages — how can they fix it?

As big corporations consume mass amounts of water, the smaller, local communities near the plants, factories and corporate offices have fewer resources. Water shortages then become prevalent as the corporation continues to use up the nearby sources. … In order to make a meaningful change for smaller communities, big corporations will need to work on alternatives.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: University of California conducting groundwater resilience survey

The University of California, Irvine’s Water Program (Water UCI) has organized a survey of the various California water and groundwater agencies and stakeholders to get a snapshot of where these agencies and stakeholders stand in terms of water resilience, especially groundwater resilience.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA makes ‘contorted’ legal argument for permit rule

EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that originally granted states that oversight power.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Business Journal

Cadiz finds new focus

The company’s long-term goal is still to complete a project to allow the transfer of up to 1.6 billion gallons of water a year from an aquifer under its land to six Southern California water agencies. But for the short-term, Cadiz is looking toward agricultural development on its 45,000 acres of land about 30 miles northeast of Joshua Tree National Park.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Our community will have a voice in proposed hydro-electric storage project near Joshua Tree

The proposed Eagle Mountain project went through nearly 10 years of regulatory review, mostly under the Obama administration, with deep investigations of potential impacts and subsequent requirements for some of the most stringent mitigations ever placed on a project. … The one hitch for us? We, the very communities who will be impacted by this project have no real voice.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR awards $65.8 million in grants to support local water resilience projects

The $65.8 million in grants will help fund projects such as groundwater replenishment and habitat restoration within the Colorado River, Lahontan, San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Ana Proposition 1 funding areas. More than $12 million of this amount targets projects that also help disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, including Tribal governments.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Living near oil and gas wells linked to low birthweight in babies

Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. … Active and inactive oil and gas sites create myriad environmental hazards including air and water pollutants, noise and excessive lighting, which have all been linked with poor health outcomes.

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